In the attic of Oslo National Academy of the Arts, a unique collection had been lying forgotten, untouched by time. It consisted of rare graphic design journals, cases of metal and wood type, books, type catalogues and printing machines dating back to the last century. The exhibition A Form for History, until January 3, 2014, at Oslo’s R21 gallery, presents part of the typography archive and offers an exceptional glimpse of Norwegian graphic design history.
On show is a selection of books and printed titles from the archive; demonstrating a diverse visual field where modernistic expression developed in conjunction with lingering roots of art nouveau. The titles are accompanied with quotes from the archive, seeking to portray a varied cultural development where issues such as national style, a lack of high quality paper, The New Typography and the role of women have all been debated.
The large, red table, with two stairs that leads up to it, was imagined as both a reference to the attic which had been the archives hiding place for several years, as well as the often unapproachable aspect that history can hold. The table itself contains 20 articles, which as a whole presents both an insight into the industrial progress, as well as the development of visual expressions in Norway. Visitors are invited to bring home copies of the articles as a way to create their own selection of history.